Navigating Well Water Quality in Your Dream Home: Rhode Island Insights

Are you considering buying a home in Rhode Island, where well water is the lifeblood of many households? If so, this blog post is tailor-made for you. As your dedicated real estate agent, I want to share insights about areas in Rhode Island primarily serviced by well water. Plus, I’ll walk you through the top 5 things to test for in a well and the solutions to the most common problems.
Areas in Rhode Island Primarily Serviced by Well Water:

Rhode Island, known as the Ocean State, offers a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities. While some urban areas are connected to municipal water systems, about 30% of households in Rhode Island primarily rely on well water. These areas are:

1. Rural Communities:Many rural towns and communities in Rhode Island rely on well water as they are often not connected to municipal water systems. Places like Foster, Scituate, and Burrilville typically have a higher prevalence of well water usage.

2. Coastal and Island Communities: Some coastal areas and islands in Rhode Island, including Block Island and Prudence Island, may rely on well water because of their remote locations.

3. Northern Rhode Island: Northern parts of the state, including Smithfield and North Smithfield, often have properties that use well water.

4. Western Rhode Island: Western areas such as Glocester and Exeter also have a significant number of homes that utilize well water.

5. Semi-Rural Suburbs: Semi-rural suburban areas around cities like Lincoln and Johnston may have a mix of municipal and well water systems. It’s essential to verify the water source for individual properties.

When considering a property in these areas, it’s crucial to conduct a well water test and inspection to ensure the quality and availability of the water supply. As your trusted real estate agent, I can assist you in navigating the specifics of well water usage when searching for your ideal home in Rhode Island.

Top 5 Things to Test for in a Well:

1. Water Yield: Ensure your well delivers an adequate flow rate. In Rhode Island, we generally aim for 3.5 gallons per minute (gpm) for a 150-foot well, or 2.0 gpm for a 200-foot well.

What if the supply is marginal or low? Possible solution include a Hydrofracture procedure if needed. Costs vary but typically range from $500 to $3,000, depending on your well’s specifics.

2. Water Quality: Test for contaminants such as bacteria, minerals, and chemicals to ensure safe drinking water. There are additional chemicals that are recommended depending upon the location. See the links at the bottom of this blog post for additional info.

What if the water quality test shows high levels of contaminants? Some contaminants may just need a simple chemical treatment to eliminate the bacteria. However, you may want to consider installing a high-quality water filtration system, which can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more.

3. Well Depth: Knowing the depth of your well is essential for future maintenance and problem-solving. Keep records of your well’s depth, as it helps in diagnosing issues.

4. Well Head Protection: Protect your well from contamination by installing a sanitary gasket-sealed well cap. It’s not uncommon for a well head to be below-grade or to hot have a proper well cap. It’s simple to have a cap installed, usually costing around $50 to $150; in the event that the well head is below-grade the casing can be extended and typically costs around $1k.

5. Seasonal Variations: Be aware of how the water supply might fluctuate during dry and wet periods, impacting your daily use.

Pros and Cons: What to Consider
When considering a home with well water, there are pros and cons to weigh.

1. Independence: Well water provides homeowners with self-sufficiency. You’re not reliant on a municipal water supply, reducing the risk of water shortages during high-demand periods or in emergencies.

2. No Water Bills: With well water, you won’t receive monthly water bills. This can result in significant cost savings over time.

3. Quality Control: You have more control over the quality of your water. You can implement water treatment and filtration systems tailored to your preferences and health needs.

4. Environmental Friendliness: Well water is often more environmentally friendly, as it doesn’t require energy-intensive treatment processes and reduces the carbon footprint associated with water distribution.


1. Initial Costs: Installing a well can be a significant upfront cost, including drilling, equipment, and well construction expenses. These costs may vary depending on the depth and location of the well.

2. Maintenance: Well water systems require regular maintenance to ensure water quality and system longevity. Routine testing, equipment servicing, and well inspections are essential.

3. Quality Variability: The quality of well water can vary based on the geology and location of the well. It may require additional treatment to meet water quality standards.

4. Water Availability: In times of drought or extreme weather conditions, well water levels can drop, potentially leading to water shortages. This is something to consider, especially in areas prone to dry spells.

5. Resale Considerations: Some home buyers prefer municipal water systems due to their convenience and reliability. If you plan to sell your home in the future, the reliance on well water could impact your home’s marketability.

As a dedicated real estate agent, I’m here to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your potential new home. Whether it’s well water or municipal water, your satisfaction and peace of mind are my top priorities. Feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns as you explore the real estate market in Rhode Island.

Additional resources:

Rhode Island areas recommended for Arsenic and Beryllium Testing
Where does our water in RI come from?